Feeling a little depressed? Unmotivated and uninspired? Stuck in a rut? 

These are totally normal feelings that all of us go through occasionally, especially during the winter months. But now that spring is upon us, it’s time to find some forward motion . . . literally. 

Although it’s not the typical prescription for symptoms of depression, a road-trip might be just what you need to get some momentum back in your life.

I’ve always found road-trips to be restorative and inspiring, but I was even more convinced of their healing power after a loss in our family last fall that sent me on a 3 week road-trip out west with my husband. The effects of a road-trip can be far greater than any prescription pill or therapy session (this coming from a therapist!) Sometimes we need an out-of-the-box intervention to get ourselves back on track in life, and a road-trip can serve as just that. 

Think about it: a road-trip is like a metaphor for life. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. Your car might break down and you might never arrive where you thought you would, but there are some valuable lessons in adjusting to the circumstances and enjoying where you are along the way. Isn’t that what life is all about? Maybe you don’t even have a destination in mind and you can really allow yourself to fully enjoy each moment. That’s mindfulness at its finest, and it’s the number one way to reduce depression!

Doing the same routine day after day gets boring. You see the same people, go to the same places, do the same things—your senses become dulled. No wonder you feel like you’re stuck in a rut! Your senses are dying for some stimulation, and exploring new places helps you accomplish this. You can taste the local cuisine (or gas station snacks), see beautiful scenery, feel the sunshine on your face, and maybe even meet some friendly people with inspiring stories along the way. Getting out of your bubble serves as a great reminder that there’s a big ol’ world out there, and your problems aren’t too big in the grand scheme of things. With your senses refreshed, you just might find that new perspective you’ve been searching for.

A road-trip is also the literal definition of moving forward. As the miles pass, you leave behind the old, familiar surroundings of home. It doesn’t take long for your brain to follow suit and leave behind the negative, repetitive thoughts that have been keeping you in a rut. Leaving your hometown in the rearview mirror and exploring new landscapes helps to generate some new, positive thoughts to get you feeling inspired again.

Lastly, there’s a sense of freedom you feel when it’s just you, your car and the open road. There are no planes to catch and no schedules to be tied to. You get to decide where you’d like to end up and what time you’d like to get there. For a nice change of pace, you’re on nobody’s schedule but your own. Roll the windows down, turn up that music and enjoy the freedom!

So the next time you find yourself feeling down, I challenge you to do something a little different. Get in your car and drive, even if only for the weekend! I have a feeling you’ll come home with a new perspective and at least a little more zest for life.